Faust seeks Murphy disqualification in PA Congressional primary

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Friday, March 31, 2006

Jane Faust, former Republican committeewoman once convicted of forging signatures, was a plaintiff yesterday in Pennsylvania's Commonwealth Court (state court). Her lawyer, Larry Otter, argued that Patrick Murphy should be thrown off the ballot for the Democratic primary election in the eighth congressional district of Pennsylvania. The eighth district is primarily located in Bucks County, Pennsylvania.

Otter argued that during the period of election petition signature collection, Murphy had signed his name as the circulator on two petition sheets, but was not present for each signature that was signed on those sheets, and thereby breaking Pennsylvania state law. Pennsylvania law states that whoever signs a petition sheet as a circulator must be present for each signature and see each signature placed on the sheet.

Murphy admitted that he was not at the sheet for every signature, and he agreed that the 96 signatures on those two sheets should be invalidated. He also stated that he was unaware of that particular election statute. Otter argued that the candidacy should be thrown out because when Murphy presented his signatures he was required to sign an affidavit stating he would "not knowingly violate any election law." It was Otter's contention to Judge Robert Simpson, Jr., that it is unbelievable that Murphy would not know the law, as Murphy is a lawyer.

"Mr. Murphy is a member of the bar of this court. He can't say he doesn't know what the law was. He's been campaigning over a year," Otter said. He then continued, arguing that since Murphy knowingly falsified his name on those two circulation petitions, he also failed to fulfill his candidate affidavit, which according to state law is a criminal offense.

The campaign manager for the Murphy campaign, Josh Nanberg, said, "Under Otter's argument, any candidate who has a meeting and puts a clipboard at the front table and ... goes to the bathroom should be thrown out. That's ridiculous."

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